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Embryonic VE-Cadherin-expressing progenitors (eVE-Cad+), including hemogenic endothelium, have been shown to generate hematopoietic stem cells and a variety of other progenitors, including mesoangioblasts, or MABs. MABs are vessel-associated progenitors with multilineage mesodermal differentiation potential that can physiologically contribute to skeletal muscle development and regeneration, and have been used in an ex vivo cell therapy setting for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. There is currently a therapeutic need for molecules that could improve the efficacy of cell therapy protocols; one such good candidate is nitric oxide. Several studies in animal models of muscle dystrophy have demonstrated that nitric oxide donors provide several beneficial effects, including modulation of the activity of endogenous cell populations involved in muscle repair and the delay of muscle degeneration. Here we used a genetic lineage tracing approach to investigate whether the therapeutic effect of nitric oxide in muscle repair could derive from an improvement in the myogenic differentiation of eVE-Cad+ progenitors during embryogenesis. We show that early in vivo treatment with the nitric oxide donor molsidomine enhances eVE-Cad+ contribution to embryonic and fetal myogenesis, and that this effect could originate from a modulation of the properties of yolk sac hemogenic endothelium.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Antigens, CD, Cadherins, Cell Differentiation, Embryo, Mammalian, Hemangioblasts, Mice, Molsidomine, Muscle Development, Muscular Dystrophy, Animal, Nitric Oxide Donors